Stripped-down Colorado MMJ review bill gets initial OK in Senate – The Cannabist
Published: Feb 18, 2015, 2:39 pm By Kristen Wyatt, Associated Press DENVER — Colorado’s attempts to make medical marijuana regulations more like recreational pot rules are running into trouble at the state Legislature.
Colorado is the only state that regulates the sale of pot for both medical and recreational purposes. A bill to renew the state’s medical pot regulations won preliminary approval in the Senate on Wednesday.
But that was only after ruling Republicans stripped many of bill’s controversial elements, including a crackdown on medical pot growers and new rules requiring edible pot to be refrigerated.
The measure now renews Colorado medical marijuana regulations that were passed in 2010 and became the inspiration for the state’s later recreational pot regulations.
But there are differences in Colorado’s medical and recreational pot rules, and state health officials and other regulators were hoping lawmakers would eliminate some of them. Among the differences:
• Recreational pot must be tested for potency and contaminants. For medical pot, such testing is optional.
• Edible marijuana must be tested for potency and limited to 10 milligrams of marijuana’s psychoactive ingredient, THC. But edible pot sold to medical patients has no testing requirement and higher “serving size” limits.
• Pot shops must refrigerate perishable edible marijuana for recreational customers. Medical edibles have no refrigeration requirements.
Republicans said Wednesday that medical pot testing is important but noted Colorado’s few licensed pot-testing labs already are backlogged. Adding medical pot testing requirements could overwhelm the labs, they said.
“It’s a false sense of security,” said Sen. Owen Hill, R-Colorado Springs.
Democrats tried to restore the testing requirements but lacked the votes. Democrats argued unsuccessfully that because medical pot patients are sick, they have a greater need for testing.
“To me, it’s common sense,” said Sen. Andy Kerr, D-Lakewood.
Democrats also failed to extend refrigeration requirements to medical products.
“Food poisoning and medical marijuana is not something we solve in the Department of Revenue,” which oversees the marijuana industry, Hill said.
The bill entirely avoids a bigger marijuana fight looming next week for the Senate — what to do about marijuana caregivers.
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